7 Ways Cloud Management Service Providers Fail to Manage Your Cloud

7 May 2020 | Posted by Cass Information Systems, Inc.

With the rise of the cloud dominating tech conversation today, it's easy to forget it was originally conceived all the way back in the 1960s. You'd think in that time, cloud service providers (CSP) would have mastered the service part. But they haven't.

Enterprises can only realize the true benefits of the cloud if they possess the resources and expertise to manage it correctly. And, while there's no shortage of cloud management tools in 2021, there's still a wide gulf between those tools and the work you have to do to make them effective.

A poorly optimized cloud can be catastrophic: from overcharges on basic infrastructure, to serious compliance and security issues. So it's important to work with a cloud service partner that can deliver.

So today, many enterprises turn to cloud management providers for support. When selecting cloud management services, consider these seven criteria and whether the providers on your shortlist are capable of meeting them.

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1. Functionality

Firstly, the range of tools offered by a provider vary from vendor to vendor. The problem is this isn’t always easy to spot.

The average cloud management provider will typically describe their services as comprehensive or extensive — a one-stop shop for all your cloud computing needs. This isn’t always strictly true.

Rather than taking them for their word, it's better to think about your organizational requirements. For example, does your service level agreement cover outages, regardless of length, or are there restrictions? Do they offer a bespoke solution to meet industry-specific regulations? If so, can they meet them?

With more and more providers coming out of the woodwork in 2021, it pays to do your research and find one that can cater to your specific needs. A one-size-fits all provider is unlikely to possess the skills needed to take your cloud to the next level. 

2. Support

Even if the service provider does live up to their lofty promises, success isn't guaranteed. If migration, integration, and post-sale support isn't included in the package, unlocking the full benefits of the cloud will prove difficult; no matter how comprehensive the provider's suite of tools might be.

This is more of an issue for multinationals who rely on their provider possessing in-region resources to secure the best deals on their cloud infrastructure. It also affects companies that have chosen a self-service, rather than a fully managed, cloud solution. 

Either way, should you have any queries about your cloud infrastructure further down the line — whether that's with specific resources or your wider budget — a reliable support network is vital.

3. Cost Optimization

From a commercial perspective, migrating to the cloud is a huge investment. And while the route to migration might be underwritten with a blank check, once established, costs need to be accounted for.

A well-managed cloud environment in which everything from server capacity and resource tagging, to budget management and invoice analysis has been carefully arranged, optimizes costs and provides complete financial visibility into your estate. This helps you save substantial sums of money on your cloud spend.

Understandably, cost optimization is a common feature of enterprise cloud management. Some providers offer a more extensive service than others, however.

For example, organizations regularly over-estimate the amount of server capacity they'll require from their provider when migrating to the cloud, blissfully unaware of the fact they've been spending far more on data storage than necessary for years. This is precisely the type of thing that should be flagged but can be missed if the service provider doesn't include routine inspections as part of their offering.

4. Security

In the past year, security has once again become a hot topic in cloud computing. COVID-19 forced many enterprises to adopt new ways of working. Remote connectivity, resource and data access, and cloud infrastructure became essential. But as businesses shifted to remote workforces, their attack surface area increased substantially. 

Protecting cloud infrastructure should be a priority for enterprises throughout 2021. Enterprises need to look to providers that can help them develop a long-term, pragmatic approach to handling growing cybersecurity concerns. 

The best vendors will be those that work in tandem with their clients to provide robust security, support, and advice whenever, and wherever you are. Instead of trying to sell you more software, a provider should offer industry expertise and resources to help you manage what you have as effectively as possible. 

5. Compliance

Equally important from a security standpoint is compliance — particularly in the wake of GDPR and CCPA. Any company found to be in breach of existing data protection laws not only faces the prospect of a hefty fine, but also legal action.

Many enterprise cloud users assume compliance and regulation is all part of the package. It’s a fairly logical conclusion, given that security and privacy is one of the most heavily advertised features of cloud management services. Yet legal responsibility remains with the organization, not the vendor. Compliance and security features are often optional extras.

Consequently, when it comes to remaining compliant in the cloud, you need a provider to help you navigate the minefield of disparate regulations. You must have a clear idea of your current compliance policy and enforce measures to ensure the security of customer data. Even more so if you’ve adopted a multi-platform approach to your cloud infrastructure. 

6. Visibility

With so many cloud management service providers available, those that boast the most effective services tend to be those that offer a wide-angle view of your cloud estate. This is especially true if you store data on multiple platforms as opposed to a single, all-inclusive hub.

Most CSPs have native tools that only operate across specific environments. If your cloud management provider can't aggregate your AWS cloud activity with your Azure or GCP activity, you're not seeing the whole picture.

7. Transparency

Full transparency of your operating environment is an invaluable resource — particularly if you have a large cloud estate spanning multiple platforms. It enables you to monitor how and where your money is being spent, as well as the physical infrastructure that comprises your cloud. But not every vendor is able to translate this information into practical recommendations.

Transparency is concerned with more than just cutting costs and extracting maximum value from your budget.

To provide true peace of mind, providers must be transparent with information and the way data is stored, encrypted, backed-up, and disposed of.

Invest in a Fully-Managed Service

In stark contrast to the issues referred to above, Cass offers fully independent cloud management services. This includes everything from cloud cost optimization and inventory management, to security and compliance.

Our services are delivered by a team of accredited experts who possess the knowledge and insight to help organizations make the most of their cloud spend.

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Topics: Cloud Management Services

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